The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has called on government at all levels to focus on skills-based educational system, to build the needed critical human resource for national development.
UNICEF Chief of Education, Euphrates Wose, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Birinin Kebbi on Saturday that education system must be tailored into moulding children into skilled and resourceful Nigerian citizens.
According to her, only education system that empowers children with the needed skills would prepare them to make a difference in their immediate community, state and the nation at large.
Wose noted that the country’s education sector was endowed with huge resource and a decentralize structure from the state to the zonal level, local government and down to the head teacher and the teachers.
She, however, said that there seem to be lack of systematic coordination and clear direction of the country’s education system.
“I have had the privilege of visiting schools in Sokoto, Kebbi and Zamfara in the last one week and interacted with the children, the teachers and the school-based management committees.
“I also had the opportunity of interacting with Education Secretaries at the Local Government Level, Area Coordinators, Education Officers, Supervisors, traditional rulers and other stakeholders.
“But it was not clear to me, the government’s direction on education; what is the grand plan? Where is the education leading to?
She stressed that one of the things she kept hearing was enrollment, which according to her is not enough.
“Enrollment is just the starting point. They is the need to continue to attend school and the teacher needs to create in them a critical mindset and push the children toward creativity, innovation and team building.
“He needs to push them to realise that they have potentials and must complete primary education, move to Junior Secondary school and to subsequent levels.
“And more importantly, it is not only about the learning outcomes in terms of literacy and numeracy; it is more about functional skills needed beyond the walls of the schools.
“That is how you create a critical human resource that will be able to address the myriad of problems affecting the country.
“Everybody in the chain of education delivery, from the federal, to the state and down, to the school level needs to be clear about what they are contributing to.”
The official added that the education sector requires all stakeholders on board, with clear objectives, roles and responsibilities down to the classroom where the teacher orchestrates the whole skills learning process.
She said that UNICEF, DFID, the World Bank and other development partners would continue to support the federal and the state governments to increase access to skill-based education for the good of the nation.
She commended the Federal Government for the bold step to conduct an Education Sector Analysis that would help redefine the country’s vision in the education sector at all levels.
“UNICEF is interested in this strategic direction, the World Bank is interested, DFID is interested, USAID is interested and together with other partners, we will support to ensure that it becomes a reality,” she added.
Wose explained that she has been going round Kebbi, Sokoto and Zamfara states and interacting with education stakeholders for the past one week to understand the context of education in the states.
She said that the objective was to understand how each of the state’s education sector were working and coordinating with various stakeholders, agencies and local government to deliver education that produces children with skills.